Decisions and Motivations

Everyone makes decisions differently and is motivated or driven by different things. Being aware of and understanding these differences is really important when managing employees or creating relationships.

Over fifty years of scientific research has revealed that there are three distinct styles of decision-making. Each of us can make decisions in all three ways, but we tend to develop a preference for one more than the other two. This preference becomes a subconscious force, affecting the decisions we make on a daily basis and shaping how we perceive the world around us and ourselves. The three decisional styles are personal, practical, and analytical.

To some extent everyone is capable of making all three kinds of decisions, but we ultimately have a preference. Here is a simple example of the three in contrast with each other. A person with each style is sitting around a table working on a project together. While the Personal style is focused on the needs of the team members involved and how to best use their talents, the Practical style doesn’t really care as much about the team or if it is done right, he just wants to get it done. Finally the Analytical sees no reason to worry about the people involved or even getting it done if it isn’t going to be done correctly.

We all have different balances of these three styles. That is what makes our decisions and actions different from others. These ways of making decisions and how we use them are at the core of whom we are.

In addition to there being three distinct styles of decision making, people are also motivated to make decisions based on different drivers. Based on the research of Eduard Spranger and later by Gordon Allport, there are seven key motivational drivers and they include the following:

  • The motivation to achieve balance, harmony, and find form or beauty

  • The motivation for security from economic gain and to achieve practical returns

  • The motivation to be seen as unique, independent, and stand apart from the crowd

  • The motivation to have influence and control over one’s environment or success

  • The motivation to benefit others in a humanitarian sense

  • The motivation to establish order, routine, and structure

  • The motivation to gain knowledge or discover truth

Imagine how beneficial it would be to know how your team members make decisions and why they are motivated to do what they do. Imagine being able to share that knowledge with the actual team members. Communication, teamwork, and your ability to manage would instantly improve. Results and outcomes would measurably improve. Uncovering how people make decisions and what drives them to do what they do can be uncovered through a simple assessment process. However, the assessment process is only the beginning. A commitment by management to create an action plan on how to effectively use the knowledge to improve team building is a critical second step. Information for information’s sake is—you got it—just information. An action plan to manage with the new information will provide long-term and sustainable results for your team.


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